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Characteristics of a Spirit-filled Home


Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and motherwhich is
the first commandment with a promise that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long
life on the earth. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training
and instruction of the Lord
Ephesians 6:1-4
What are characteristics of a Spirit-filled home as seen in the relationship between parents and children?
In Ephesians 6:1-4, Paul gives instructions to children and parents. Since, the word fathers can be
translated parents; therefore, in this study we will address both parents.
It must be remembered that this passage is connected to Ephesians 5:18-22 where Paul calls the
Ephesians to be filled with the Spirit. To be filled means to be empowered and controlled by the Spirit of
God. In Ephesians 5:19-22, he gives the results of a person who is filled by Gods Spirit. They worship, give
thanks, and submit to one another out of reverence to Christ. After that text, Paul talks about the Spirit-filled
relationship between a husband and wife and now children and parents.
In a Spirit-filled home, children obey their parent, and parents raise their children in the Lord instead
of exasperating them. If this is true of a Spirit-filled home, then in a worldly home, children are
disobedient and parents neglect training their children in Lord.
Romans 1 describes the results of pagan world that has denied God and one of them is childrens
disobedience (v. 30). Furthermore, Isaiah describes how in a society under the judgement of God, children
rule and oppress the people. Isaiah 3:12-13 says this: Youths oppress my people, women rule over
them. O my people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path. The LORD takes his place in
court; he rises to judge the people.
Sadly, this is happening all over the world. The Duke of Windsor once quipped, The thing that impresses
me most about American is the way parents obey their children.1 Instead of children obeying their parents,
parents do whatever it takes to make the children happy, often to their demise. In many places, youth
run wild and people are scared to walk the streets because of theft, murder, gang violence.
In a family without God and the Spirit, often there is oppression either from the parents or from the children,
instead of love and godly instruction. John MacArthur shared this quote from the Minnesota Crime
Commission, which demonstrates the truthfulness of Scripture on this topic. It said:
Every baby starts life as a little savage. He is completely selfish and selfcentered. He wants what he wants
when he wants it: his bottle, his mothers attention, his playmates toys, his uncles watch, or whatever. Deny
him these and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness which would be murderous were he not so
helpless. Hes dirty, he has no morals, no knowledge, no developed skills. This means that all children, not
just certain children but all children, are born delinquent. If permitted to continue in their selfcentered

1 Cole, Steven, The Spirit-filled Home Part 1, accessed 10/27/2015 from


https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-51-spirit-filled-home-part-1-ephesians-61-3

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world of infancy, given free reign to their impulsive actions to satisfy each want, every child would
grow up a criminal, a thief, a killer, a rapist.2

Every child is infested with a sin nature, and if not trained, this child will live a life of rebellion towards
parents, God, and ultimately all authority. Children are a blessing, but they need godly instruction and
ultimately the new birth.
Parents need the power of the Spirit to train their children and children need the power of the Spirit to obey
and honor them. In this lesson, we will consider characteristics of Spirit-filled home.
Big Question: What characteristics of a Spirit-filled home can be discerned from Ephesians 6:1-4?

In a Spirit-filled Home, Children Obey and Honor Their Parents


Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and motherwhich is
the first commandment with a promise that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long
life on the earth.
Ephesians 6:1-3
Interpretation Question: Who is Paul referring to when he says children?
When Paul calls for children to obey and honor their parents, he is not only referring to small children;
tekna (children) is a general term referring to all offspring.3 Biblically, it denotes those unmarried and
still dependent upon the parents financially. Genesis 2:24 says this about the marriage relationship,
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one
flesh. When married, there is a change in a son or daughters responsibility to their parents. The wife owes
her first devotion, after God, to her husband, and the husband to his wife. Their first priority is no longer
obeying the parents.
However, the childs responsibility to honor their parents, which at times includes obedience, never
changes. Obedience refers primarily to our actions and honor refers primarily to our attitude. We
should always honor our parents, even if we are no longer under their parental supervision.
Sadly, in our culture, the elderly often are not honored. They are seen as a burden instead of a
blessing and often neglected. Conversely, Scripture teaches that sons and daughters owe parents and
grandparents special honor when they age and cannot provide for themselves. First Timothy 5:4 and
8 says:
But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into
practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is
pleasing to God If anyone does not provide for his relati
ves, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an
unbeliever.

2 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (p. 309). Chicago: Moody Press.
3 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (p. 311). Chicago: Moody Press.

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Now this would have been especially hard for children in this ancient culture to receive. Many children
held a deep animosity, specifically, towards their father. The patriarch of the family held unlimited
power and was typically excessively strict. He owned all the property and even adult children could not
own anything in their own name unless he died. For example, even a forty-five year old senator could not
own property if his father was still alive. 4 This unlimited power commonly resulted in lording over the
children often creating a deep animosity within them. Sometimes this anger even resulted in patricide
for which Romans reserved one of their worst punishmentsbeing stripped, whipped, and drowned in a
bag, along with live animals to scratch at the flesh.5
In Ephesians 6:1, Paul says, Children, obey your parents in the Lord. In this, we can discern how they
were to obey their parents.
The Greek word translated obey is very helpful because it comes from two words, under and to listen
so that it literally means to listen under.6 From this we can learn two qualities of the childs
obedience.
Observation Question: How are children to obey their parents?
1. In order to obey their parents, children must listen to them.
The book of Proverbs is primarily about a father teaching his son wisdom about life. He constantly calls
the child to listen and to hear. Proverbs 4:10 says, Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of
your life will be many.
In the same way, children should listen to their parents. Parents are not perfect, but they have lived
more years than their children. Even adult children should constantly seek the advice and wisdom of
their parents for it will bless their souls.
If children are going to obey their parents, they first must listen to them. Yes, they may at times talk too
much, but this is only true because they care. Children must listen to their parents.
2. In order to obey their parents, children must submit to them.
To listen under has this connotation. It refers to submitting to their authority and responding
positively when spoken to. Often this is not the normal reaction of children. Instead of responding
positively to parental instruction, children often respond negatively because they want their own
way.
As long as a child is under the parents authority, they must recognize that this authority is Godgiven. Romans 13:1 says there is no authority but that which comes from God. Children must submit to
their parents authority.
4 Saller, Richard. Family Values in Rome. Accessed 10/17/2015 from
http://fathom.lib.uchicago.edu/1/777777121908/
5 Roman Punishment. Accessed 10/17/2015 from http://www.romae-vitam.com/roman-punishment.html
6 Hughes, R. K. (1990). Ephesians: the mystery of the body of Christ (p. 199). Wheaton, IL: Crossway
Books.

A tremendous story of a son submitting to his parents authority is that of Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones. While in
college, Martin Lloyd Jones felt a call to pastoral ministry; however, his parents really wanted him to be
a doctor. After praying, he felt that he should first become a doctor to honor his parents and then
become a pastor to honor God. And he did this. He became one of the top doctors in his field, and then
left the medical field to go to seminary and became one of the most well-known pastors in history.
3. In order to obey their parents, children must be faithful to the Lord.
Again Paul says, children obey your parents in the Lord. This means many things.

First, it means children must submit to their parents as a Christian duty in honoring God.

Second, it means children must cultivate their relationship with God (and be filled with the
Spirit) in order to their parents.

We see this picture of children cultivating a deep relationship with God throughout the Scriptures.
Samuel grew to know God at a very young age. God would speak to him and he would reply, Speak, for
your servant listens (1 Sam 3:1). Similarly, David, though marginalized by his parents for his age, had a
deep relationship with God, and God began using him at a young age. God enabled him to kill a lion and
a bear, and one day God used him to defeat the enemy of IsraelGoliath. In order to faithful obey,
especially to difficult parents, children must cultivate their relationship with God. Only then can they truly
obey their parents in the Lord.

Finally, it describes the sphere of childrens obedience. Children should obey their parents in
everything except when parents call them to disobey God. If parents call them to lie, steal, or
cheat, they should disobey because their obedience is first to the Lord.

Application Question: What type of relationship did/do you have with your parents? As a child, were you
generally obedient or unruly, and why? How does this relationship affect you today?

In a Spirit-filled Home, Children Understand the Importance of Obeying and Honoring


Parents
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and motherwhich is
the first commandment with a promise that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long
life on the earth.
Ephesians 6:1-3
In a Spirit-filled home, children dont just obey because they have tothey understand why.
Ephesians 6:1-3 says:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and motherwhich is
the first commandment with a promise that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long
life on the earth.

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When he says, for this is right, he begins to layout reasons for obedience and honor. This also is an
important parenting practice. Often children ask the question, Why? after being told to do something by
parents. And often the response is, Because I told you so. There is a place for this. But, if its the
primary way parents respond to their children, its not healthy. There is a place for explanation so
children can become wise and, eventually, make wise decisions on their own.
Paul, like a wise parent, explains to children why they should obey and honor their parents.
Observation Question: What reasons does Paul give children for obeying and honoring their parents in
Ephesians 6:1-3?
1. Children should obey and honor their parents because it is ethical.
The first reason Paul gives is simply because it is right. Dikaios (right) refers to that which is correct,
just, righteousto that which is exactly as it should be. 7 This is the way God meant it, and
therefore, it is righteous and pleasing to him.
If children want to be righteous before their heavenly Father, they must obey their parents. It
doesnt matter how mean, rude, or unspiritual they are. What matters is pleasing God.
2. Children should obey and honor their parents because it brings prosperity.
Next, Paul quotes the fifth commandment in Exodus 20:12. He says, Honor your father and mother
which is the first commandment with a promise that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long
life on the earth.
In the Ten Commandments, God promised Israel that if a child obeyed his parents, it would go well with
them. Though, we are not under the Old Testament law (cf. Rom 6:14), because Paul repeats this in the
New Testament (Covenant), it means that this promise is still true for New Testament believers.
When a child obeys his parents, God promises to bless their lives. Certainly, this happens practically:
An obedient child develops healthy patterns and character traits like honesty, hard work, and
generosity that often lead to a prosperous life. His integrity and diligence will lead to blessing from
teachers, employers, spouses, and ultimately God.
In contrast, a child that rebels against his parents, will rebel against teachers, bosses, and ultimately
every authority including God. This will lead to pain. Commonly, rebellious children will get caught up
in hazardous practices like drunkenness, drugs, dishonesty, and stealing which will affect them for
the rest of their lives. They will constantly deal with the consequences of their sin and ultimately the
discipline of God.
Interpretation Question: In what way is this the first commandment with a promise as Paul said?
Here, Pastor Steve Coles comments are helpful. He says:
7 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (p. 312). Chicago: Moody Press.

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But, Pauls comment, that this is the first commandment with a promise, is a bit puzzling.
Scholars point out that the second commandment, not to make any idols, promises that God
will show lovingkindness to those who love Him and keep His commands (Exod. 20:4-6). But,
as Calvin explains (The Institutes of the Christian Religion [Westminster Press], ed. by John
McNeill, 2:8:37), that promise was not confined to that particular command, but extends to the
whole law. So the promise attached to the fifth commandment was the first specific promise
among the ten and the first of many promised blessings for obedience.8
3. Children should obey and honor their parents because it promotes long life.
Now, when God promises a long life to Israel and the church for obedience to parents, this probably
refers to a full lifehowever long God planned for us to live. It must be remembered that God has an
allotted amount of time for each believer on the earth. David said this in Psalms 139:16, your eyes saw
my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
God ordained all the days of David before he was even born.
However, because of disobedience some experience untimely deaths. This was seen with Ananias and
Sapphira (Acts 5:5-10) and certain members in the church of Corinth (1 Cor 11:30).9 Some because of
drug use, excessive alcohol and cigarette use, reckless driving or crime will have shorter lives. The
disobedience perpetuated in child-hood continues into adulthood causing a shortened life.
Obeying and honoring parents is so important that in the Old Covenant, God commanded that a
child who struck his parents (Ex. 21:15, 17) or cursed his parents would be put to death (Lev 20:9).
To physically or verbally abuse a parent was a capital offense. And the reason for this was this type of
behavior would not only dishonor the parents and God, but ultimately destroy society. A society where
children rule is a society under Gods curse and headed for destruction (cf. Is 3:11-12).
Application Question: What are your thoughts about Gods promise of prosperity and long life to obedient
children or loss of these things for rebellion? How have you seen this promise play out in your life or
others?

In a Spirit-filled Home, Parents Do Not Exasperate Their Children


Fathers, do not exasperate your children
Ephesians 6:4
The next aspect of a Spirit-filled home is that parents do not exasperate their childrenprovoking anger
and rebellion in them.
In the Greek, Paul called for the Pateres to not exasperate the children (or provoke them towards
wrath). Pateres typically referred to male parents but at times referred to parents in general. We see it
used this way in Hebrews 11:23, when referring to Moses parents. However, since Paul called for the
8 Accessed 10/17/ 2015 on https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-52-spirit-filled-home-part-2-ephesians-64
9 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (p. 315). Chicago: Moody Press.

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children to obey both parents in the previous three verses, he most likely is still referring to both
parents in this verse.10
With that said, the father was the most dominant figure in the home and the one most likely to
exasperate the children or push them towards wrath. Certainly, mothers did this as well, but fathers
were more inclined to it.
MacArthur shares why the fathers love would be hard to even imagine in this ancient context. He shares:
By the Roman law of patria potestas a father had virtual life and death power not only over
his slaves but over his entire household. He could cast any of them out of the house, sell them
as slaves, or even kill themand be accountable to no one. A newborn child was placed at its
fathers feet to determine its fate. If the father picked it up, the child was allowed to stay in the
home; if the father walked away, it was simply disposed ofmuch as aborted babies are in our own
day. Discarded infants who were healthy and vigorous were collected and taken each night to
the town forum, where they would be picked up and raised to be slaves or prostitutes.11
As we consider this command, we must ask, How do parents provoke their children to wrath?
By understanding how this happens, parents can avoid it.
Interpretation Question: How do parents exasperate or provoke their children to wrath?
1. Parents exasperate their children by not disciplining them.
This is one of the quickest ways to develop bitter children. A spoiled child is a thankless and
bitter child. Because they get their way all the time, they are bitter whenever any authority does not
give them their way or when life becomes difficult. Solomon said, Folly is bound up in the heart of a
child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him (Prov. 22:15).
Parents embitter them by never driving the foolishness, the sin, out of their hearts through
good discipline. Parents who do not discipline their children but instead give them everything they want
often become surprised when their children eventually rebel later in life. These spoiled kids want
nothing to do with their parents. Sadly, this happens too much, even in the church.
2. Parents exasperate their children by abusing them or giving improper discipline.
When children are abused, either verbally or physically, it sows seeds of anger or hatred in
their hearts. The anger sown into the hearts of these children is hard to get out. Many times these
children abuse others because of the anger in them.
However, we see this not only as a result of abuse, but also with improper discipline. When a
parent does not wisely use his anger, he trains the child to unwisely use anger as well. The parent
becomes angry and curses at them, criticizes them, or even harshly disciplines them. Even if this
punishment is just, the improper use of anger trains the child. The child learns, When I am angry it is
OK to curse; it is OK to hit somebody; its OK to go crazy. He never learns how to properly control his
anger, and therefore struggles with anger throughout his life.
10 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (p. 316). Chicago: Moody Press.
11 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 315316). Chicago: Moody Press.

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The parent who disciplines his child in an angry spirit teaches him how to deal with anger.
The child grows up fighting everybody, or holding grudges against anybody who failed him, because that is
how he was trained.
Listen parents, telling your children to go to their rooms while you are angry can be a wise
tactic. It gives you a chance to evaluate their sin, their motives, and your own heart. It allows you to
teach them how to respond to their anger, and it also allows you to discipline them appropriately.
3. Parents exasperate their children by neglecting them.
Many children grow up bitter because their parents arent around. Consequently, they lack love
and affection and therefore grow bitter because of that. Some parents neglect their children for work.
They work long hours to achieve a certain amount of success, and this keeps them away from home.
Ultimately, this hurts children both emotionally and spiritually.
Sadly, in our society many parents neglect their children by sending them away to extensive
education programs. Many times these programs are meant to compensate for their lack of being
around. It is not Gods will for teachers, coaches, or babysitters to raise children. That is why he gave
them to their parents. Certainly, these people should play a role, but it is important for parents to be the
primary influence on their childrens lives. Parents must be careful not to neglect their children.
We saw an example of neglect in the story of Absalom and David. David neglected his children,
and this created such anger in Absalom that he eventually usurped Davids authority in the kingdom
and essentially tried to kill him. One of Davids sons had previously raped Absaloms sister and David
did nothing. Absalom killed this brother and David did nothing. Absalom ran away from the kingdom and
David did nothing. When Absalom came back to the kingdom after murdering his brother, David wouldnt
even visit him. This created anger in Absaloms heart, which he tried to satisfy by seeking to kill his
absentee father. David didnt discipline him and didnt encourage him. David did nothing but neglect his
son, and it had drastic consequences.
Many children have tremendous anger at a father or mother who neglected them. Parents, do not
embitter your children. Prioritize them over your work, your church, your entertainment, and your
social life. Let only God and your spouse come before them.
4. Parents exasperate their children by never encouraging them and showing them affection.
We saw this in the story of Martin Luther whose father never encouraged him or showed him
love. Listen to what commentator William Barclay said:
It is one of the tragic facts of religious history that Martin Luthers father was so stern to him that, all
his life, Luther found it difcult to pray: Our Father. The word father in his mind represented
nothing but severity. The duty of the parent is discipline, but it is also encouragement. Luther
himself said: Spare the rod and spoil the child. It is true. But beside the rod keep an apple to give
him when he does well.i
Healthy parents not only discipline their children but also reward them. Parents reward their
children when they do well and discipline them when they do wrong. Children start to learn fairness by
this balanced approach.
5. Parents exasperate their children by showing favoritism toward other siblings.

We got a good picture of this in the story of Jacob and Joseph. Jacob gave Joseph the robe of
many colors, showing his favor of this son above the other eleven. This embittered the older siblings
against the father and against Joseph. Later, they kidnapped and sold Joseph into slavery out of
their anger.
How often do siblings become embittered against one another because of unwise parenting
practices? These children grow up disliking one another. Mother always thought you were the
prettiest. Dad always liked you because you were the smartest and most athletic. This happens all the
time.
6. Parents exasperate their children by neglecting or deriding their God-given bend or
disposition.
Proverbs 22:6 says, Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from
it. In the way he should go" can also be translated as "his way" or "his bend." The Amplified Bible
translates it this way: Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or
bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it. The word way comes from a Hebrew verb used of
a bow launching an arrow.ii When a person shoots an arrow, the tension must align with the natural
bend in the bow or it will break. This is also true in raising children.
Some parents damage their children by trying to train them in a way God didnt wire them.
They may do this by pushing their kids into the medical field, athletics, music, etc., even though the
children show no aptitude or passion in those areas. God gives us children who are already uploaded
with a unique and specific program like a computer. We cant use software uniquely made for an
Apple with a PC. Its the same with children. Some will be wired towards the arts, technology, or
serving ministries. It is the job of parents to get to know the way God wired them, so they can encourage
them in those areas.
This can be difficult for parents, especially if their childs wiring doesnt fit their expectation or
what might be considered successful in society. However, we are called to train a child according to
his own wayaccording to his own bend (Prov 22:6)not ours or others. Their way may not appeal
to us, but ultimately, we are raising children for God and to fulfill his calling on their lives. Parents
exasperate children by neglecting or deriding their God-given bend.
7. Parents exasperate their children by pushing achievement beyond reasonable bounds.
Parents often destroy their children with their academic, athletic, social, or career expectations. No
matter how well the child does, it is never good enough. Eventually, the child learns that nothing will
ever please thempushing them towards rebellion. Some parents do this because they are trying to
live their unfulfilled dreams through the children or trying to fulfill the expectations of society
instead of Gods. Many children have been exasperated even to the point of suicide by these types of
expectations.
Instead of their own expectations or that of the world, Spirit-filled parents seek Gods expectations for a
childs life.
Application Question: What other ways do parents provoking their children to wrath? How can the church
play a role in remedying this trend of unwise parenting?

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In a Spirit-filled Home, Parents Lovingly Raise Their Children in the Lord


Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of
the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4
Finally, Paul calls for parents to train the children in the Lord. Sadly, in many homes, only culture and
secular wisdom is taughtoften creating secular, worldly children. But in a Spirit-filled home, they are
raised in the training and instruction of the Lord. How should they do this?
Interpretation Question: How should parents raise their children in the Lord?
1. Parents raise their children in the Lord by providing for their needs.
The words bring them up means to nourish or feed, as in 5:29 which says that a man feeds and
cares for his own body. Calvin translates bring them up with the words, let them be kindly
cherished.12
Spirit-filled parents should meet their childrens needs. This includes providing, food, shelter, and
caring for them emotionally. To neglect them and not spend time with them is to damage them
emotionally, physically, or spiritually. It has the sense of being kind and loving to them as seen in
Calvins translation, let them be kindly cherished. Parents must kindly care for their children instead of
being harsh with them.
2. Parents raise their children in the Lord by training them.
The word training can be translated discipline or chastening. It means discipline, even by
punishment.13 Because children have a sin naturea propensity to sinthey must be disciplined.
Many Scriptures teach the necessity of discipline such as:
He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
Proverbs 13:24
Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.
Proverbs 19:18
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of
righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11
Application Question: What are some principles about how to properly discipline children?
12 Hughes, R. K. (1990). Ephesians: the mystery of the body of Christ (p. 200). Wheaton, IL: Crossway
Books.
13 Hughes, R. K. (1990). Ephesians: the mystery of the body of Christ (pp. 200201). Wheaton, IL:
Crossway Books.

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Discipline should never be given in anger.

Scripture says, man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires (James 1:20). As
mentioned earlier, when parents yell at their children or spank them in anger, they are abusing them. It
will not produce the righteous life that God desires in children. Parents should be calm and measured
when disciplining a child.

Discipline should be equal to the sin.

In the Mosaic law, civil discipline had to be equal to the crime; it was to be an eye for an eye, and a
tooth for a tooth (Ex 21:24). This is also true in disciplining children. Parents must wisely consider the
consequences for each infraction. If discipline is unfair, it may result in rebellion.
In addition, when deciding the punishment, parents must discern the difference between
childishness and foolishness. Small children are going to spill milk; that is childishness. But when
they spill the milk, were they doing it to be rebellious? Foolishness should be punished, and
childishness should be corrected.

Discipline should be consistent.

When a parent continually tells their children, If you do this, then I will discipline you when we get
home, and the parent does nothing, then children learn that the parent doesnt always mean what he
or she says, and therefore, they dont always have to obey. Also, if the parent doesnt discipline the
child for turning on the TV when they should be sleeping, but then does the next time, it confuses the
child. Discipline must be consistent. In addition, the giving of discipline should also be consistent
between the parents. Parents must present a unified front; otherwise, it will promote manipulation
from the child and cause discord within the marriage.

Discipline should create intimacy instead of distance.

When a child is being disobedient to his parent, distance is created in the relationship. However,
when the parent disciplines the child, it shouldnt create a greater distanceit should restore
intimacy. This is how Gods discipline functions with us. Sin separates us from God, but his
discipline is meant to draw us back into intimacy. This is another reason why parents shouldnt
discipline when angry or give unfair disciplines; it further alienates the child instead of drawing him
closer.
3. Parents raise their children in the Lord by instructing them.
Instruction can also be translated admonition, correction, or advice. It refers to verbal instruction or
a verbal warning. It literally means to to place before the mind 14 or putting in mind.15 Again, this is what
14 Hughes, R. K. (1990). Ephesians: the mystery of the body of Christ (p. 201). Wheaton, IL: Crossway
Books.
15 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (p. 319). Chicago: Moody Press.

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we see in the Proverbs, a father instructing his son about lifewarning him about the adulterous
woman, the practice of sin and dishonesty, and encouraging him to fear the Lord and to find a godly
wife. Parents should not only train their children through actions like discipline but also through godly
instruction.
The primary instruction that parents should teach their children comes from the Word of God. Consider
what Moses taught the parents in Israel to do with their children. He said this in Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to
be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and
when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on
your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on
your gates.
MacArthur said this about the instructions to families in Deuteronomy 6:
Parents were to continually speak about the things of God, so that knowledge and love of
Him would become a matter of life and breath for the family. When the parents were not
speaking the testimony would continue. And you shall bind them as sign on your hand and they
shall be as frontals on your forehead (v. 8). Even when the parents were gone, the testimony
remained, because it was to be written on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (v.
9). In other words, there was always to be both verbal and visible commitment to the Word of
God in the home. It is Gods plan for His Word to be passed on from one generation to the
next. And His primary agent is the family.16
In a Spirit-filled home, the parents raise their children in the Lord by tenderly providing for them,
disciplining them, and instructing them in the Lord.
Application Question: What are some other good principles or practices for raising children in the Lord?

Conclusion
What are characteristics of a Spirit-filled home?
1. In a Spirit-filled Home, Children Obey and Honor Their Parents
2. In a Spirit-filled Home, Children Understand the Importance of Obeying and Honoring Parents
3. In a Spirit-filled Home, Parents Do Not Exasperate Their Children
4. In a Spirit-filled Home, Parents Lovingly Raise Their Children in the Lord

16 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (p. 308). Chicago: Moody Press.

i W. Barclay, The New Daily Study Bible: The Letters to Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians, 3rd ed.
(Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 190.
ii Keathley, J. III. The Principle of Nature (Knowing Your Child), accessed 2/8/15 https://bible.org/seriespage/principlenature-knowing-your-child .